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Army rescue team assists flood victims

By Zheng Jinran (China Daily)

08:40, July 27, 2012

In a Beijing district battered by Saturday's downpour, soldiers with mud on their pants and shovels on their shoulders arrived at a primary school in Beicheying village on Wednesday.

On the campus of the school in Fangshan district, 24 makeshift tents house more than 20 families. Many of the tent-dwellers' houses are on the street where the floodwaters rose up to 3 meters on Saturday night, severely damaging their homes.

Gu Haihua, 26, whose house was destroyed, said the soldiers helped her clean up the mud and damaged cars in front of her house.

"They came to help us from the early morning till night. They are ready to help us whenever we asked," she said.

The soldiers are from the China International Search and Rescue Team, a professional quake-relief group that conducts rescue missions home and abroad.

The team previously worked at the scenes of the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 and Yushu earthquake in 2010, and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year.

On Wednesday, about 50 rescuers from the team came to help the flood victims in Fangshan.

Putting down their tools, some of the soldiers began to set up more tents on the campus and check the existing ones. A team leader talked through the intercom.

"We have 18 soldiers now. Need more? No problem," said Qin Xiaogang, the team leader. They immediately got in cars and left for a pig farm. On the road, two more soldiers joined them.

A guide car took the lead on the mud-filled road, followed by a car with equipment and another filled with soldiers.

The average rainfall in this district reached 281 mm on Saturday, triggering floods in its mountainous areas and affecting more than 800,000 residents.

Even after three days, roads were still impassable, and forklifts had to work around the broken riverbanks.

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